PUBS and police have launched a campaign to combat cocaine after traces were found in every establishment tested in Uttoxeter.
Police have been swabbing pubs across Staffordshire to establish the scale of the county’s cocaine use.
They were ‘alarmed’ to find traces of the class A drug in more than 90 per cent of the watering holes they visited.
And, of the nine pubs tested in Uttoxeter, all nine came up positive.
But Staffordshire Police licencing manager Jed White told the Advertiser all those pubs were ‘fully co-operating to tackle the problem’.
He said: “I’d like to make it perfectly clear that we’re not blaming any of the licencees - it’s not their fault and is a very difficult problem to solve.
“It’s very clear that cocaine is the social drug of choice in this country.
“But there are lots of things pubs can do to minimise its use.
“I’m absolutely delighted with all the premises we’ve visited as they’ve all shown a great determination to work in partnership with us to fight this.”
Mr White said modifications to toilets were a key way of preventing cocaine use.
He said: “Disgusting as it is, cocaine users often sniff the drug from toilet seats.
“So some pubs have removed the lids from the toilet seats.
“Others have installed ultra-violet lights in the bathrooms to detect the traces.
“Another idea that’s being used is to put holes in the toilet roll holders so they can’t be sniffed off.
“We’re also advising pubs not to publicise when they’ll be inspecting their toilets, as many currently do with signs in their establishments.”
Deputy police and crime commissioner for Staffordshire Sue Arnold has been ‘instrumental’ in the scheme to test pubs.
She said: “The statistics are absolutely shocking.
“I knew cocaine was popular but had no idea of the extent of the problem.
“We’re launching a robust strategy to tackle it, which is in its early stages.
“One scheme that may be implemented would involve creating a website where the establishments that tested positive are named publicly.
“Cocaine, particularly when mixed with alcohol, breeds violence and social disorder and it needs to be stamped out.
“Uttoxeter is a comparatively quiet place in terms of public disorder and we’ll be doing everything we can, in partnership with the pubs, to maintain that.”
The pubs were tested between May 10 and July 20 and will be re-tested in November.